Thursday, 3 December 2009

Are you a terrorist?

Earlier this week the local news carried a story about a man who was stopped under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act (2000) for taking photos of Burgess Hill's Christmas lights. Also a BBC journalist was stopped after taking photos of St Pauls. Earlier this year a man was arrested in Chatham High St for taking photos.

Section 44 allows the police to designate "no photo" zones where they can stop, search and question people. The police won't tell us where these zones are - that would spoil the fun of it I suppose!

In February this year, this was extended under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, so that taking photos of police or armed forces is now illegal.

Apart from the absurdity of Chatham High St or Burgess Hill being a terrorist target, the assault on basic human rights is simply dreadful. At what point does taking photographs become "looking at and trying to remember"? What about painting them?

Just when will Google be prosecuted for Google Earth and Street View?

If I wanted to take a photo for illegal purposes, I would use a small camera, probably mounted on something less obvious - like a mobile phone. Fortunately those haven't been invented yet...

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